BAN PREVAILS IN PLAYOFF TO WIN THE JUNIOR ALL-STAR AT LAKE HAVASU
Mai gets early birthday present at The Refuge Golf Club
LAKE HAVASU, Ariz. Shotaro Ban of San Jose, Calif., came out victorious at the Junior All-Star at Lake Havasu by sinking a 25-foot putt on the first playoff hole on Friday. Brittany Mai of Poway, Calif., won her final Junior All-Star event on the fourth playoff hole with a three day total of 2-under-par 214, one day before her sixteenth birthday.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Junior All-Star at Lake Havasu was a 54-hole stroke play event held at The Refuge Golf Club. The tournament field featured 44 boys and 22 girls, ages 12-15, from ten states, Canada and Mexico. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 6,835 yards, while the Girls Division played at 5,822 yards.
The Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series is a collection of 11 events specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12-15 and presents opportunities for younger members to develop their skills and earn entry into Open tournaments. Juniors are limited to a maximum combination of five AJGA Open and Junior All-Stars Series events during a calendar year. The series concludes with the Junior All-Star Invitational over Columbus Day weekend for winners and top finishers in the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series events.
Ban began the day four shots ahead of first-round leader Robert Palacios of Chino Hills, Calif., but Palacios made a charge and tied things up heading into the back nine. Still tied going into No. 16, Ban hit an amazing 3-wood from the right rough to ten feet for eagle, which he made, to take a two shot lead into the final two holes. Standing on the 18th tee all Ban had to do was make bogey. After hitting his tee shot left in a bush, he was forced to take an unplayable and eventually made a six-foot putt for doublebogey to force a playoff. On the first playoff hole Palacios left it short of the green on his second shot. His chip lipped out of the hole, which left the door open for Ban who was 25 feet above the hole. Ban stood up with confidence and drained the putt to take home victory.
It was a right to left putt straight down the hill, he said. I knew it was in when it was about ten feet from the hole.
Palacios lost on the first hole of the sudden death playoff to claim second, finishing 8-under-par 208. Troix Tonkham of Arleta, Calif., shot a final round 5-under-par 67 to jump to third with a 7-under-par 209 total. Ki Taek Lee of Redlands, Calif., Li Wang of Sammamish, Wash., and Zachary Wright of Phoenix, Ariz., tied for fourth place each with a three day total of 5-under-par 211.
In the Girls Division, Mai started the day two shots back of second round leader Alexandra Kaui of Henderson, Nev., She remained two shots behind with three holes to play but managed to birdie Nos. 16 and 17 to force a playoff. After an intense four hole playoff Mai stood victorious.
It was an amazing experience to win, Mai said. I turn 16 tomorrow so this will be my last Junior All-Star.
Kaui who lost on the fourth playoff hole took second finishing with a three day total of 2- under-par 214. Taylor Kim of Surrey, Canada, shot 5-over-par 221 to finish in third.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 wins. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
For more information please contact National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200, or visit the Web site at ajga.org.
GARY GILCHRIST GOLF ACADEMY, a full-time junior golf training and development program, enters its first year as an Official Partner of the AJGA. The partnership features an endowment of an AJGA Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant and the naming rights to the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series, which provides juniors access to national competitive golf opportunities.